Is there a name for the device of writing in a disparaging tone while actually complimenting someone?
What happened is that I intended to compliment a writer, but to do so in a rough-and-tumble, masculine jousting, verbally sparring way, for humor, and to add some distance in a context of others' compliments becoming somewhat too much.
Sadly, another poster misunderstood my badinage, and suggested I was churlish for being so critical. I defended my good intentions as mere slagging, and was happily understood. Situation resolved. But in the process, I realized I was short a good solid noun to characterize the nature of my cack-handled compliment.
It went something like this: "Schwartz isn't that smart. He's just got a few cute tricks like a comprehensive understanding of history and how it affects a few philosophers like Aristotle, Kant, Nietschze, Freud, Marx and some others. along with a smattering of Psychology, politics and . . . " and so on, just for fun.
My thought was: "Mock criticism," But since posting, I have learned from many of the fine members of this site, many of the terms I've woven into my edit, as well as "thinly-veiled compliment" and "litotes," which I lacked the wit to work into this.
In retrospect, thank you, one and all!